A speed camera in France has issued fines to thousands of drivers even though they were going below the road’s 90km/h limit. A new ploy to make money? No – the device was poorly configured.
More than 50,000 cars were ‘flashed’ on the road, even though many of them were well within the 90km/h speed limit, in the two weeks following January 10 when the camera was inadvertently changed to point in the wrong direction.
During the same period last year, only 54 fines were issued.
It has now emerged that the fines were issued in error due to the camera being focused on traffic going the opposite way and being poorly set up for its location.
The problem happened because the road in the commune of Sargé-sue-Braye, in Loir-et-Cher (Centre-Val de Loire), on the D357 road between Le Mans and Orléans, is on a hill.
The speed limit on the affected side of the road (uphill) was 90km/h, but the speed limit on the other side was just 70km/h and 50km/h for heavy goods vehicles (downhill). The camera was flashing cars on the wrong side.
The mairie in Sargé-sur-Braye reported the issue after receiving a deluge of calls from unhappy locals.
In a statement, the mayor’s office said: “We are sorry for everyone affected and we can only advise people not to pay these fines.”
Drivers are advised not to pay any fines if they have been caught by this camera nor to contest them. The local authority is aware of the camera fault and will not pursue fines unless they are found to be justified.
The local police have tweeted the same.
Un radar automatique sur la RD 137 à St Sulpice d'Arnoult a causé ces derniers jours des frayeurs à des automobilistes, flashés alors qu'ils respectaient la limitation de vitesse !— Gendarmerie de la Charente-Maritime (@Gendarmerie_017) September 16, 2021
Ce radar était en maintenance. Il n'y aura donc pas de verbalisation. Merci aux lanceurs d'alerte!
The local service in charge of automatic speed cameras, based in Rennes, is set to send each wrongly-fined person an official cancellation notice.
A similar issue happened in Charente-Maritime in 2022. This prompted the local gendarmerie to reassure drivers that the camera had been removed for maintenance and that any fines or flashes for drivers going within the speed limit could be safely disregarded.